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AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons to cease operations at end of season

Oklahoma City Barons v Lake Erie Monsters

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 12: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #18 of the Oklahoma City Barons skates against the Lake Erie Monsters during their game on October 12, 2012 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The Monsters defeated the Barons 2-1. (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)

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The Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL are ceasing operations at the end of the season.

Barons owner Bob Funk Jr. said in a release that the decision, which followed the team’s failure to complete a new affiliation agreement with the Edmonton Oilers, was “business-driven.”

“Without a more equitable financial agreement with economic terms to provide the best opportunity for sustained success, we can no longer justify additional investments in the operations without higher returns,” he said.

“We have the highest regard for the Edmonton Oilers organization and it has been a privilege serving as its primary development club.

“Even though we were not successful at completing an agreement, we have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the Edmonton Oilers’ management and coaching staff over the past five years.”

The Oilers released a statement of their own. It read in part, “The decision to move on from Oklahoma City, although not easy, will open new opportunities for the Oilers organization and our AHL business.”

So, where do the Oilers go from here? From TSN’s Darren Dreger:

The Barons are currently averaging just 3,219 fans per game, ranking near the bottom in AHL attendance.

Related: AHL could have new division in western U.S.